Jerome S. Brunner’s article, Some Elements of Discovery, discusses methods of teaching where students use knowledge and learning from school in meaningful and effective ways. Tools that students can draw upon when progressing to the next subject, grade, or level. Rather than focusing on learning new material, students need to discover what they already know to approach new information. “Discovery teaching involves not so much the process of leading students to discover what is ‘out there,’ but, rather, their discovering what is in their own heads.” (Brunner, 1966) Students have many skills they can use towards education, they just need the techniques discover them. Figuring out what they’ve got is the first step to higher learning and thinking.
Brunner compares student’s learning by discovery to concept formation in an example where a class develops ideas of a steadying tool when discussing what the purpose of a compass to draw circles is. The students collaborated together and made meaning from information they already knew. When students listened to each other, they found more and more connections which grew the class’s understanding. ““The children are getting connections that allow them to travel from one part of the system to the other and when something new comes in, they find compatible connections.” (Brunner, 1966) The students formed their own abstract idea of what a steadying tool is based on evidence they already had in their heads. Teaching students methods to unlock this potential will lead to productive and effective approaches to all areas of their education.
Brunner, J. S. (1966). Some Elements of Discovery. Learning by Discovery: A Critical Appraisal.
Rand McNally & Company: Michigan.
Inductive learning is the process of students making sense of new information through what they already know or have experienced. It is a basic form of teaching that allows students to construct their own learning, knowledge and information. Inductive teaching allows students to discover concepts and topics they are interested in with the teacher following whatever route the class decides. This style of teaching could make an educator uncomfortable when leading as it is not a predictable lesson that planned out with details. Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2004) emphasize practicing and giving control over to the class when teaching inductively. “Let go and have fun. Build a learning community around the model – designing a weekly lesson won’t accomplish that.” (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 66) Inductive teaching can be an enjoyable experience as the learning is happening spontaneously while keeping standards and requirements in mind.
An example of the inductive teaching model can be seen where a class of fourth grade students are deciding the topic of a research project. They eventually decide to explore the topic of ancestry and researching their family history. Students show interest in this topic because it relates to their lives and is meaningful to their identity. They will practice research skills and discover new details about their past. This assignment will also create a sense of pride for their ancestor’s past and how that has brought them to the present. It will be a fun experience and since the students came up with the topic themselves, they will be more engaged and interested.
Calhoun E., Joyce B., & Weil M. (2004). Models of Teaching. (9th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson.
Triggering Event Question: How can third grade students use the internet, power point, audio, and video files in presentation to creatively demonstrate knowledge of a particular topic?
Students use technology every day and finding methods to incorporate these devices in classrooms can greatly benefit learning. ISTE Standard one states: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity. Technological resources are available and can be used by students to creatively express their opinions and ideas. Alaa Sadik (2008) conducted a study in Egyptian classrooms to find the effectiveness of Digital Storytelling, the ability to use the internet and photos to craft a narrative presentation. Results of the study included an increase in student motivation and engagement, deep thinking around personalized topics, and more compelling and interesting presentations due to the wide variety of tools available. However, teachers wanted additional professional development and training to effectively manage and instruct use of these computer resources. Digital storytelling is a great way to inspire student learning and creativity in the classroom that creates an engaging experience for all students. Educators need effective training regarding this tool to thoughtfully find ways to apply it in their classrooms.
A member of my learning community posted an article by Robert J. Marzano (2009) regarding the use of another classroom tool, the interactive white board. A study was conducted involving 85 teachers and 170 classrooms where teachers used interactive whiteboards to teach a set of lessons which they then taught to another group of students without this technology. Results found that there was a relatively equal amount of positive results from the classes with the use of the whiteboards and those without. This shows that teacher instruction and planning is still a crucial aspect of the classroom. The whiteboards can be a tool for both teachers and students to present information but again needs to have adequate training to effectively use these classroom tools. Best classroom practice should be continued with the appropriate and effective use of new technological resources.
Marzano, R. (2009). The Art and Science of Teaching / Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards. Educational Leadership. 67: 80-82.
Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integrated approach for engaged student learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. 56:487–506.